This article from ADDitude Magazine talks about how beneficial structure is for children with ADHD. However, it also states this:
“Your whole family will benefit psychologically from a structured regime. Both parents and children experience decreased stress when there’s less drama about what time you’ll eat dinner and where you’ll settle down to do homework.”
Children do best when they know what to expect.
When I speak to PTA groups, it often takes place in a school library. I love school libraries. Everything has its own place. If there are any questions about the rules, they are posted on the wall to refer back to. If a book gets taken off of the shelf and you can’t find its original place, you just place it on a library cart to be reshelved.
Another thing about school libraries is that you are taught early on, as a child, how to use them. You learn these rules not only by absorbing them through the environment, but you generally have ongoing library education on how to properly use the library and how to behave.
So, how can we use these tactics in our homes?
Don’t Make Assumptions. Though it is true that children learn through observation, they also do need to have things explained to them. Don’t assume that they know towels go on the towel racks rather than the floor. Keep it in mind that they may not know that the specifics of your family culture may change as they get older.
An example? Many children take a bath just once or twice a week. As children grow and start bathing or showering once a day, they may not stop to think that towels should get reused a few times before being washed. Often, changes like this result in frustration from parents – “Why are all of our towels dirty?! Don’t you know to reuse them before putting them in the hamper?!” If no one has told them, they really may not!
Have them help when making rules. When children have input into creating the structure of their home, they often remember things better. Let them make some decisions about where things are store in their rooms – or even in the kitchen. Are they responsible for putting dishes away? Let them make some decisions about where dishes are stored that work for them.
Review your expectations. Is what you are expecting of your children unrealistic? Are you demanding that they pick up, sort, and put away 75 toys at the end of the day – when in all reality, this overwhelms you? If you think you may be expecting too much, dial back your expectations for a bit – and adapt your environment to fit by putting some things away for a bit.
Knowing what to expect from your parents and your environment can help so much when it comes to feeling confident and empowered on a daily basis – because really, who doesn’t want that?